Ockenden heading to Games

TASMANIA'S final quota of Commonwealth Games athletes will be seven after Eddie Ockenden was yesterday invited to continue his golden run with the formidable Kookaburras.

Eddie Ockenden

Eddie Ockenden

However, Hockey Australia's squad announcement was bitter-sweet for the state with fellow World Cup winner Tim Deavin and his former Launceston clubmate Nick Budgeon both missing the cut for Glasgow.

Ockenden was delighted to get the chance to defend the trophy he helped win in New Delhi four years ago having also been a part of two World Cup wins, five straight Champions Trophy successes and successive Olympic Games bronze medals.

``It's exciting to be going to another Commonwealth Games,'' the 27-year-old said from Perth.

``It's a good event, I really enjoyed the last one and I'm looking forward to it. Everyone's really excited about taking part in another multisport event.''

Hobart's North West Grads midfielder, who was voted world young player of the year in 2008, has a cousin in nearby Edinburgh so is looking forward to returning to Scotland.

``Being a multisport event like the Olympics, it's fun living in the village and all the distractions that goes with that.

``It'll be a great tournament.''

In their first tournament since the retirement of supercoach Ric Charlesworth, the Kookaburras will play group games against Wales, South Africa, India and the host nation at Scotland's National Hockey Centre.

Ockenden had sympathy for his fellow Tasmanians, especially with 29-year-old Deavin having played a key role in this month's World Cup win.

``It's difficult for us because there's a group of about 30 that are good enough to be selected. Tim came into the team late and did a really good job so it will be disappointing for him not coming away with the team.''

Budgeon had also been in contention after impressing as a penalty corner specialist at this year's Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia, but the squad retained first-choice option Chris Ciriello who struck a hat-trick in the World Cup final demolition of hosts the Netherlands.

Premier Will Hodgman said equalling the number of athletes at the 2010 Games was an excellent result for Tasmania.

``Representing your country is an enormous honour and Tasmanians will watch with pride as these athletes compete on the world stage,'' he said.

Graham Reid and Paul Gaudoin have been appointed joint head coaches following Charlesworth's decision to finish his commitments with the Kookaburras.

Five-time world player of the year Jamie Dwyer was the surprise omission after the 35-year-old had equalled Jay Stacy's record of 321 appearances for Australia in the World Cup final.

Both Australia's Commonwealth Games teams are looking to defend titles won four years ago, with the men having won all four tournaments since the sport's introduction in 1998.  

Australian men's team:  Daniel Beale (Qld), Andrew Charter (ACT), Chris Ciriello (Vic), Matt Gohdes (Qld), Kieran Govers (NSW), Jeremy Hayward (NT), Fergus Kavanagh (WA), Mark Knowles (Qld), Trent Mitton (WA), Eddie Ockenden (Tas), Simon Orchard (NSW), Andrew Philpott (Vic), Matthew Swann (Qld), Jake Whetton (Qld), Tristan White (NSW), Aran Zalewski (WA).

 Women's team:  Madonna Blyth (Qld), Edwina Bone (ACT), Jane Claxton (SA), Casey Eastham (NSW), Anna Flanagan (ACT), Kate Jenner (NSW), Jodie Kenny (Qld), Rachael Lynch (Vic), Karri McMahon (SA), Georgia Nanscawen (Vic), Ashleigh Nelson (WA), Georgie Parker (SA), Brooke Peris (NT), Emily Smith (NSW), Jayde Taylor (WA), Kellie White (NSW).


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